The American West.
Such a strong metaphor.
With its wild, open spaces. Its untouched, kaleidoscopic horizons. Especially its mythical prototype of that solitary, self-reliant soul on horseback staring out through sagging Stetson at vast, unbridled potential.
The motivational image couldn’t be riper with meaning.
Yet this romanticized dream of the lone cowboy conquering auspicious land can only be realized by those who are robust and independent. Those ambitious and strong. The Daniel Boones. The Davey Crocketts.
Not the weak.
At least not those who find themselves overwhelmed and battle-worn from plodding too far down the thorn-tangled, unmarked trails of life.
It’s these weak ones. Those who have felt fear wrangling them by the throat. Those who have struggled against physical and spiritual foes trying to rope their hind legs. Those who have stood, again and again, with muskets drawn toward enemies of discouragement, disillusionment, disability, defeat.
It’s these weak ones, the ones who have spent too long in the gun-slinging OK Corral of life that need hope most.
But what if a higher power existed that could bring such hope?
What if a strength much stronger than ours could be mustered? What if confidence and courage much greater could be attained? What if the weak too could walk in “spacious places,” could surmount the saddle-backed frontier of their minds, could lay claim over their wayward emotions, unharnessed attitudes, unbridled circumstances?
The poet David tells us there is.
Listen to his words in Psalm 18:19 (NIV):
“He brought me into a spacious place; He rescued me because He delighted in me.”
David wrote these words in response to his own dogfight against enemies too great for him. He describes his battle-worn state in Psalm 18:4 this way: “The cords of death entangled me; the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me.”
This king of nations was not afraid to admit when he was overwhelmed. He did not try to tuck it under the saddle or pull himself up by his own bootstraps when weak.
Because he knew where his help came from (Psalm 121:1-2).
He knew Who would deliver him.
In Whom he could take refuge.
And as a result, David watched God shake the heavens and come down. He witnessed Him stirring up thunderstorms that scattered his enemies across the land (v.13-14). David saw His Savior reach down in the midst of deep waters, in the midst of despair, in the midst of weakness, and draw him out (v. 16).
He relied on God to bring him into a “spacious place.”
And you can too.
Because it’s okay to be weak when you have God behind you. You don’t need to be some tall-tale hero of the Wild West to see confidence rise in your soul and hope soar in the vast, unbridled potential before you.
You just need Him.
To depend on Him, to call out to Him, to cling to the reality that He “delights” in you just the way you are.
That’s how the West is really won.
So the old-timers say.
It’s His strength, not our own, that makes it happen.
In what ways can you depend more on God to empower you in the battles you are currently facing? How does knowing God delights in you just as you are, even when you feel weak, affect your outlook on life today?